Defining your brand is the first step to building your marketing and a marketing plan that works. Your brand is the personality of your business. If you don’t know who you are – how can your ideal clients or customers possibly find you? It also helps you to connect with your clients and customers and show them why they should choose you over your competitors.
Your brand helps you to decide what activities suit you and more importantly, your clients best and helps you to craft messages that will resonate and connect with your ideal audience.
Defining your brand is also important if you have more than yourself working in your business, or if you outsource some services. A clearly defined brand is easier to execute and will ensure consistency in all your interactions with clients and suppliers.
So how do you go about discovering what your brand is? Many people start – and often finish – with the visual aspects of a brand. You design your logo, choose your colours and then apply it to all the visual aspects of your business. However,
There are 4 key elements to discovering your brand – and each of them is connected to your ‘Why?’ – the reason you do what you do. Let’s break them down and see how they feed into your brand personality.
1. Your Vision
What is the big picture
Once you have your vision – hang on to it! This is your touchstone – what you keep coming back to you as you make decisions about your business and your marketing – it should guide most of your decision making.
2. Your Unique Value
Why you and not your competitors? Why are your clients choosing you and your product or service? Think back to your vision and your ‘Why?’ this should help point you in the right direction as to why clients choose you over others. Think particularly about what problem you are solving for your clients – this should help you define what is unique about your business and the value you provide. Or better yet – why not ask your clients why they chose you? This is a great way to find out what value you provide to your clients – it might even be something different to what you imagine.
So now you know why you do what you do and what value you provide – you need to bring your brand to life – and we do this through your brand voice and the visual elements.
3. Your Brand Voice
This is really important as your brand voice will guide the language you use when talking with clients, your tone and the key messages you deliver. It will run through every interaction you and your staff have with your clients. A good way to discover your brand voice is to think about who your ideal client is – how do they speak? Do they use technical language? Is humour important? Consider also your vision and your why – if you’re addressing a serious issue, humour may not be appropriate. You can also consider how you want your client to feel when they deal with you. Do you want your clients to feel cared for and important – then a warm gentle tone may be appropriate. Do you want your clients to feel energised and invigorated? Then an energetic, fun and louder voice might be right for you.
4. Your Visual Identity
The final element to discovering your brand personality is your visual identity. What does your brand look like? Look back over your vision, unique value and your brand voice and think about what that looks like visually. Is a clean, uncluttered, natural look or bright, vibrant and fun? If your voice is calming and caring – bright, primary colours may not match those. If your vision is based on inspiring trust and solidity – then a whacky, fun font with cartoon-like imagery won’t be a good match. A great way to get a feel for what your visual identity could look like is to check out visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram or online image libraries (Pixabay and Unsplash are two of my favourites) for images which resonate with you and reflect your vision, value and voice.
As you work through these elements – be sure to write them down – or record them in some way – then share them with those who are working with you on, or in your business.
The key to a great brand is consistency – once you’ve discovered your brand personality – look at every aspect of your business and make sure it reflects this personality. Only then will you start to create meaningful connections with your clients.